Yoga Sutra Illustration 1.10

अभावप्रत्ययाअलम्बना तमोवृत्तिर्निद्र

abhava pratyaya alambana tamo vrttir nidra

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 1.10

nidra = sleep

abhava = non-existent
pratyaya = impression
alambana = based (on)
tamo (tamas) = void, inertia, darkness
vrttir = thought

I love sleeping people – they look so calm and at peace.
The translations I read described this as being about deep, dreamless sleep.
It’s interesting that it gets included as a “thought”. I find sleep fascinating – it’s almost as mysterious as infinity and thinking about the edge of the cosmos.

Yoga Sutra Illustration 1.9

शब्दज्ञानानुपाती वस्तुशून्यो विकल्पः

sabda jnana anupati vastu sunyo vikalpah

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 1.9

vikalpah = imagination

sabda = word, sound
jnana = knowledge
anupati = arises
sunyo = without any
vastu = reality

Vikapla seems to be interpreted quite a lot as delusion, manifesting in ways such as the results of misinformation, propaganda and unconscious bias.

But I thought I’d celebrate the wonderfulness of imagination so I drew a sandbox to represent it, thinking how lucky we are to be able to imagine things and the unlimited freedom we have in what we can create there.

Yoga Sutra Illustration 1.8

विपर्ययो मिथ्याज्ञानमतद्रूप प्रतिष्ठम्

viparyayo mithya jnanam a tad rupa pratistham

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 1.8

viparyayo = misconception
mithya = (is) mistaken
jnanam = knowledge
a tad rupa = not that form
pratistham = (of the true) form

I often mistake things for other things and it’s so weird when you actually see what you think is there until you realise what it really is. In this one he is freaked out when he thinks the rope is a snake, but then he finds out that it‘s just a rope and can bring him joy in the form of a swing 💖

Yoga Sutra Illustration 1.7

प्रत्यक्षानुमानाअगमाः प्रमाणानि

pratyaksanumanagamah pramanani

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 1.7

pratyaksa = perception
anumana = inference
agamah = received knowledge
pramanani = are the sources of knowledge

For sensory sources of direct perception, the scenery is for sight, the bird song is for hearing, the flowers for smell, the apple for taste and the feeling of being connected to the ground for touch.

The book represents received knowledge and she is looking up thinking, to represent inference.

Yoga Sutra Illustration 1.6

प्रमाण विपर्यय विकल्प निद्रा स्मृतयः

pramana viparyaya vikalpa nidra smrtayah

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 1.6

pramana = right knowledge
viparyaya = misconception
vikalpa = imagination
nidra = sleep
smrtayah = memory

This one is naming the 5 kind of thoughts mentioned in the previous sutra. The following sutras will go into more detail about what each one is.

If you want to get out of compelling thoughts, throughout the day (or during meditation) you can notice which one your thoughts fall into.

Today I noticed I was thinking about making a retreat centre in the country side and thinking about where it should be and imagining all these little huts with different colour umbrella shaped roofs like those paper umbrellas that you get in cocktails and actually open and shut (I really love them!).

So this one is mainly imagination but the umbrella part is memory and maybe about longing for a time in childhood when I was so happy playing with those umbrellas.

Yoga Sutra Illustration 1.5

वृत्तयः पञ्चतय्यः क्लिष्टाक्लिष्टाः

vrttayah pancatayyah klistaklistah

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 1.5

vrttayah = whirlpools, waves (thoughts)
pancatayyah = 5 kinds
klistaklistah = suffering and not suffering

Think this one is placing thoughts into 5 states (they will be named in the following sutras) and saying that some of them bring suffering and some of them don’t.

I tried to draw thoughts as a metaphor with how the sea is at different times, sometimes completely calm, sometimes gentle waves, sometimes big waves, sometimes violent and stormy and sometimes a tsunami.

It doesn’t really matter what state the sea is in and won’t affect you too much if you are a bird flying above it or a fish deep down. In the same way if you observe your thoughts or meditate you can stop being reactive, get out of negative thinking and not get carried away by obsessive thoughts.

Yoga Sutra Illustration 1.3

तदा द्रष्टुः स्वरूपेऽवस्थानम्

tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 1.3

tada = then (at the time of meditation)
drashtuh = the self
svarupe = own form
avasthanam = settling, resting

Intellectually I’m not really sure what this one means, which is why the picture is a bit undefined and abstract! Though deep down I’m sure we all know what it means because it points to truth…

I drew a reflection in a lake because this sutra seems to be describing a state of enlightenment and seeing things as they really are and I’ve often heard this state described as a metaphor of a perfectly clear reflection, with our ‘usual’ state of everyday being more like a rippled water surface. Where our thoughts and emotions are the waves on the water surface and vary with intensity and magnitude. Still, lakes are beautiful whatever the weather ❤️

Yoga for Parents – Resting

If you can, about once a day, find a small towel or something to cover your eyes and a cushion. Set a timer for 3 mins, lie down on your back, put the cushion under your knees and cover your eyes with the towel.

Breathe slowly and deeply and imagine the breath travelling slowly all the way down to your toes on each inhale and slowly up from your toes on each exhale.

1min Okutama Stream Meditation

Here is a 1min stream meditation, created near Kori station in Okutama, Japan.

  • Start the video or audio, sit with a straight back, your chin slightly pulled in, relax your shoulders and close your eyes (or lie down if too tired!).
  • Relax and slow down your breathing.
  • Listen to the stream, each time you notice your mind has wandered, gently go back to listening to the river.

Download Audio File

2min Okutama River Meditation

Here is a 2min river meditation, created in Okutama, Japan.

  • Start the video or audio, sit with a straight back, your chin slightly pulled in, relax your shoulders and close your eyes (or lie down if too tired!).
  • Relax and slow down your breathing.
  • Listen to the river, each time you notice your mind has wandered, gently go back to listening to the river.

Download Audio File

1min Okutama Waterfall Meditation

Here is a simple 1min waterfall meditation 🙂

  • Start the video or audio, sit with a straight back, your chin slightly pulled in, relax your shoulders and close your eyes (or lie down if too tired!).
  • Relax and slow down your breathing.
  • Listen to the waterfall, each time you notice your mind has wandered, gently go back to listening to the waterfall.

Download Audio File

5min Tokyo Rain Meditation

Here is a simple 5min rain meditation – why not try it and see if it helps you feel more calm?

  • Start the video or audio, sit with a straight back, your chin slightly pulled in, relax your shoulders and close your eyes (or lie down if too tired!).
  • Relax and slow down your breathing.
  • Listen to the rain, each time you notice your mind has wandered, gently go back to listening to the rain.

Download Audio File